Now here’s a nice refreshing take on the post-apocalypse genre which is about as crowded as the zombie subgenre within it. A brief synopsis preceding Last Rebel simply states the world has kind of gone to shit after a mysterious event which mutated the population including the animals, giving them freaky abilities. This story is set in Cork and is comprised of four vignettes all revolved around Jenny, who we discover to be the titular character.
What’s interesting is not just that each story is written and illustrated by a different team, but the narrative shifts from Jenny’s personal struggle to other characters who are acting in accordance to what they believe Jenny to be. There’s a sense of mystery to Jenny, like an urban myth, as she is the protector of her equally mysterious sister Grace who has some extraordinary powers. As this world seems to be governed by gangs, Jenny and Grace are the hope that others put their faith in.
Since we the readers get to meet Jenny and Grace, we discover they are regular teen girls. Regular in a loose sense; this is the post-apocalypse after all. Jenny carries a club to fend off mutant cheetahs and misfits, all to protect her sister Grace. We’re not entirely sure what Grace is capable of but it seems clear Jenny doesn’t want her potential to be tapped. Some of the exposition regarding their relationship is bit forced, with clumsy dialogue about Grace living in Jenny’s shadow. Each story is quick with bursts of violence to keep things moving. While it certainly gives the comic some flavor to have different writers and artists, it also runs the risk of inconsistency. The best one is from the perspective of an old woman talking about her belief regarding Jenny. This idea of Jenny being thought of as a living legend where everyone’s concept of her is unique is a good one that I hope continues in future issues.
While I was okay with the pacing of this issue, I do hope it slows down a bit and gives time for character moments. Any time it seemed we were getting some insight into who these people were, it was quickly interrupted for an action scene. This is not a problem and certainly adds to the danger of this world, but discovering more details regarding these characters will help us empathize with them. The unconventional structure works well for this comic and keeps you on your toes. It also makes the world feel larger and shows the extent of this disaster which affected the whole planet. That always seems to be a question mark with other post-apocalyptic tales; what is going on in the rest of the world? For now, there’s enough intrigue for me to check out the next issue and revisit this world. As it’s clear that animals are all mutated, I’m curious how they’re going to show the range of abilities for each species. If you’re feeling a bit burned out by The Walking Dead this is a good, original entry in the genre.
What did you think of this issue of Last Rebel? Will you pick up the next one? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!